July 8, 2021

Jul 8, 2021

Image: Nina Bisognani

Millions of years ago God gave us colorful, scented flowers. 
Bees, the vegetarian descendants of predatory wasps, appeared 
shortly afterward. Up to 85% of food crops for humans and 
numerous crops that feed cattle and other animals depend on bees. 
Bees are our great pollinators.

There are references to the behavior of bees in the Bible.
Bees represent industriousness, strength, and wisdom.
Honey reflects Jesus Christ’s sweet and gentle nature.
Justice and the cross are likened to the sharp sting of the
bee, which causes pain like “fire among thorns.”

As highly organized protectors of the hive and their Queen,
bees remind us to be loyal to one Ruler, to One God.
Although all bees have a particular role in their community,
scouts will die stinging intruders who pose danger to the
Queen. Drones will die to mate with the Queen, sustaining 
the life of the hive. So, too, must we protect our spiritual selves
by devoting our lives and sacrifice to the will of God and the
universe He has created to sustain us. 

It has been suggested that when you see a bee visiting a flower,
you are witnessing a love affair that began over one million years ago.

Poet Kahil Gibran once wrote:

    “ To the bee, a flower is the fountain of life,
      and to the flower the bee is a messenger of love.”

Although bees are increasingly losing their habitats to urbanization,
farming , pesticides and climate change, we can help care for our earthly 
garden by planting flowers that attract them and ultimately feed them. 
Short-tongued bees like bowl shapes and daisy-type flowers. Long-tongued bees,
like the garden bumblebee, prefer more pendulous flowers, such as foxglove.

Last year 40% of honeybee colonies in the United States died.  Now we have
an opportunity to give back to these amazing little creatures who have given us so
much for so long.

Nina Bisognani

A Prayer for Beehives, adapted from the Orthodox Great Book of Needs

O Almighty God: You hold all creation in the palm of your hands; You possess the heavens, the earth and all that is them; You compassionately grant to all created things what is beneficial for them. We pray to You, O all-good One: As in ancient times You granted the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, and as you were well-pleased to nourish Your baptizer John in the wilderness with wild honey, so now by Your good pleasure and caring for our sustenance, bless these beehives in their apiary, greatly increase the number of bees in them, preserve them by Your grace, and fill us rich with honey. Let none of these beehives which You have fashioned be deprived of bees, but let them always be filled with honeycombs of honey. And according to Your great benefits and invincible might, let them be shown undefeated by evils and unshaken by curses. Rather, fenced round about by Your all-powerful might and defended by your host, let them always remain unharmed and in Your grasp, O Christ. For Yours it is to be merciful and to save us, O Christ our God, and to You do we send up glory, honor and worship, together with Your Father and Holy Spirit. Amen.